OK, the mark of a good literary character is change, being different at the end of the play than from the beginning because of all s/he has been through. And we all see how Leontes is a repentant king at the end of The Winter’s Tale. Right?
I’m not so sure…
Anybody else notice Leontes’ greeting to Florizel, the visiting son of his friend Polixenes (you know, they guy Leontes suspected of impregnating his late[?] wife)?
His first words to the young man–his first freaking words–are” “Your mother was most true to wedlock, prince, / For she did print your royal father off, / Conceiving you” (V.i.124-6). Really, Leontes? Your first words are about a non-cuckolding mother? Seriously?
Has Leontes really changed all that much? Hell, I’m surprised that his first words to Hermione aren’t, “Hey, did you get any while you were gone?” Of course, he does say, “If this be magic, let it be an art / Lawful as eating” (V.iii.110-1), emphasizing the legal (not moral, not loving) aspect of her return.